North Korea fires multiple missiles, South Korea responds

On Wednesday 2nd November 2022, North Korea fired as many as 23 missiles into the sea. The missiles were directed toward South Korea and Japan. One of the missiles landed less than 60 km off South Korea’s coast—a first in the enduring conflict between the two neighbours.

South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol termed the unwarranted provocation as territorial encroachment. The missile made landfall south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a contentious maritime boundary between North and South Korea, but outside of South Korea’s territorial seas.

It was also the most missiles launched by the North in a single day, and it was the first time a ballistic missile had fallen in close proximity to South Korean seas since the peninsula was divided in 1945. Rare air raid warnings were sent by South Korea, who also responded by launching its own missiles.

In retaliation, three air-to-ground missiles were fired into the sea north across the NLL by South Korean jets, according to the South’s military. AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a 360 kg warhead, “stand-off” precision strike weapon produced in the United States, was among the weapons deployed, according to an official. After Yoon’s administration promised a prompt and decisive reaction, the South launched its attacks.

His office said in a statement, “President Yoon Suk-yeol noted North Korea’s provocation today was an effective act of territorial encroachment by a missile intruding the NLL for the first time since (the two Koreas’) division.”

When questioned if the missile was headed towards South Korean soil and should have been destroyed, a top presidential official responded, “Strictly speaking, it did not land in our territory but in the Exclusive Economic Zone under our jurisdiction, therefore it was not subject to interception.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, “That missile was one of three short-range ballistic missiles fired from the North Korean coastal area of Wonsan into the sea. As many as 14 other missiles of various types had been fired from North Korea’s east and west coasts. At least one of the missiles landed 26 km south of the NLL, 57 km from the South Korean city of Sokcho, on the east coast, and 167 km from the island of Ulleung, where air raid warnings were sounded.”

According to a report by Reuters, an Ulleung county official said, “We heard the siren at around 8:55 a.m. and all of us in the building went down to the evacuation place in the basement. We stayed there until we came upstairs at around 9:15 after hearing that the projectile fell into the high seas.”

Moreover, the North launched about 100 artillery rounds into a military buffer zone created by a military accord with the South off its east coast. According to the South Korean JCS, an agreement from 2018 prohibiting aggressive conduct in border regions is broken by the firing. Due to the fact that the 1950–1953 Korean War concluded in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, North and South Korea are officially still at war. North Korea, which has nuclear weapons, has conducted a record number of missile tests this year, and authorities in Seoul and Washington claim the country is now ready to test nuclear weapons for the first time since 2017.

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